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In our modern business arena, there are fewer massive companies and businesses. In fact, it is the era of startups and new businesses. Across the world, the amount of entrepreneurs is increasing with each passing year. The last decade we’ve witnessed the rise of several young businessmen and entrepreneurs. While many have ventured into this arena, there are only a few who have managed to stay successful. It’s not just being smart or hard working that make successful entrepreneurs. It takes many other things including some regular healthy habits to seal the prosperity of one’s own business. Today, let’s look into five healthy habits of successful entrepreneurs that set them apart from the rest.
You cannot run a company if you yourself are not fit and healthy. Being fit doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to join a gym or go on a diet. You need to maintain a routine that keeps you refreshed for the entire day. Start your day by exercising or doing yoga. Stick to it all week. The fresh morning air and workout will keep your body healthy and keep your mind active and alert. This is important for a successful businessman. Sometimes work takes up most your time. Ensure that in spite of having a busy schedule you manage to find some time to exercise. Eat a healthy diet with less sugar and fat. Keep a balanced metabolism and stay energetic. A strong, healthy leader is always entrusted by its people to make the right decisions and choices. Don’t stay up late at night unless necessary, and try to get enough sleep.
A business success is often led by well-defined goals and objectives. It is important to figure out what you want, or how you want your business to progress over time. There is a lot of competition out there, and customers fluctuate every single day. In such circumstances, make sure to set regular goals and objectives. This will help map your business development and growth. Every day, lay out the goals and objectives that you and your team should achieve. Write them down in a diary or on a board in your office. Don’t set unrealistic goals that might confuse your employees or yourself. Make sure whatever your objective is it should be achievable and completely clear. Next, the important part is to follow through. Setting goals is just the beginning, now you have to achieve them.
Knowing the ins and outs of your business is a must. But that’s not it! You are a businessman in an age when things change in the blink of an eye. The world today has turned into a global marketplace. Everyone can be connected within the blink of an eye. Things are no longer on a small scale. Make it a habit to stay updated with the latest news and current affairs. While business news should be a top priority, you should also be up to date on other topics. Some examples being, finance, media, advertisement, arts, entertainment, etc. Read as much as you can on different topics. In the past newspaper and radio were the only source for news. Now you have access to all sort of news with the touch of a finger. Stay completely updated. You never know what information might benefit you in ways you’d never imagine. A successful entrepreneur is always aware of what is happening all over the world and how it may profit or harm his business.
What makes a business successful? What made Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerburg famous? Most of us will say that it was their idea of something different. But that’s not entirely true. They took risks and left their comfort zone. They struggled, that’s why they are famous and successful today. Think out of the box but have the courage to work on it. Not everybody will support you or agree with you. But if you believe in your idea, try it. Taking risks will not always get you what you want. Be prepared for it and learn from it. An efficient entrepreneur is never afraid of taking a risk, nor is he scared of failures. Until you try things and take risks you will never know what works best for your business.
Your employees form a very integral part of your business. Even the brightest business ideas can fail if the people working with you are not satisfied. A lot of people leave their jobs because they aren’t appreciated or paid enough. An organization develops and grows only if its employees also develop and grow with it. Regularly motivate and lift the morale of your people. Create a healthy working environment for them. Take care of their needs and requirements, and make all the necessary amenities available to them. Appreciate them for their work and success. If possible, get to know them and have good communication. Organize events where your employees can interact with each other. Never become a leader people are scared of. Become a leader people will trust, respect and follow voluntarily.
For many of us, starting a business doesn’t mean we’ve perfected and polished our entrepreneurial traits. Many of us acquire these traits throughout our journey. The biggest hurdle that many have to overcome is fear of business. You want to grow your business, make noise, and become the pinnacle of your industry. However, fear can cripple these efforts. Throughout my journey, I have learned some incredible tactics to overcome crippling fear. We are going to dig into those with this weeks article.
Did you know that our actions and behaviors are governed by past beliefs and life experiences? We’re trapped in our old belief, and have a tendency to assume things. To overcome our fear of business, we should adopt a new set of beliefs.
What is your intention to build a business? Do you think past the earnings? What does business mean to you? Do you have a vision of your life? What is your mission in business? Once you get enthusiastic about your mission, the fear of starting a business will lessen.
Many of us would not have the entrepreneurial mindset after we begin a business. That is okay; the entrepreneurial mindset can develop along the way. By acquiring the entrepreneurial mindset, we won’t give up our business easily. We overcome our fear in business by creating the entrepreneurial traits.
One of many root causes in fear is a lack of self-confidence. I see that youngsters have better self-confidence than adults. Self-confidence displays your emotional maturity. Many adults lack self-confidence because of their failures, they usually accumulate their fear. By building self-confidence, you might be growing your emotional state, and your business fear will subside.
The primary fear in business may very well be the fear of marketing. Most hate selling; usually there is a perception that marketing is the same as selling. They don’t prefer to push folks to buy, and so they face rejection. Nonetheless, there are many marketing strategies and techniques developed, and it is not essential to confront people. You’ll be able to overcome your fear of business by learning marketing. Develop a unique marketing strategy for your business. Place yourself and your branding properly so you will appeal to people.
As a business coach, what matters is having the ability to deal with people. Are you scared to face people? You need to conquer this fear. Helping people solve their issues is what business coaching is all about. If you want to succeed you need to overcome the fear of coaching. Hence, first understand what it takes to succeed as a business coach.
Ask yourself: what am I afraid of?
Fight with your fear. This helps to know where the fear is coming from. Try to analyze the cause of the fear. Put yourself in a situation where you need to handle some clients. If you are scared of something, find a solution to overcome the fear.
Preplanning: If you prepare yourself in advance, it is easier to overcome your fear. Preplan and then face others. This includes preparing presentations so that you feel confident enough to face others.
Relax, be at ease: Don’t panic. Take a deep breath and relax. Understand that your clients are not going to hurt you. In fact, you are the one who is in charge and going to solve their issues. So understand all their queries and then try to sort them step-by-step.
Arrive early: See to it you arrive a little early if there is an appointment set. If you are late, the fear factor will increase. Being 10 to 15 minutes early, that will give you time to prepare to face your client.
You need to understand these commitments. You are committed to your clients, but you find yourself busy overcoming your fears rather than solving their issues. So if you realize that you are committed towards responsibility, focus on the important activities rather than getting scared. Whenever your fear follows you, just remind yourself that you are committed to making a difference to other peoples’ lives. Your mind reflects both positive and negative aspects of any situation. This way you will be able to stick to your commitments and reach your goals.
Express yourself. Communication is the shortest distance between two people. So share your commitments as it gains more power when you let others know about them. Thus, creating a new commitment and sharing it with others is equally important to overcome your fear. Preplan and make a list of the clients you are going to call, what appropriate actions you are expecting to take and with whom you would be sharing your experiences.
So what are you waiting for? Just make a note of all the commitments and try to meet them as soon as you can. If you have a positive approach towards your work no one can stop you from winning. So get all fears out of your mind and coach as many clients you can.
Leads are important for any successful business. Generating leads can be overwhelming, especially as this process has a high in-person level of involvement. As such, networkers have to generate a good number of leads. That way they’ll have enough people to present their products to.
You have printed fliers, sent out mailers, you’ve blasted your social-media followers. But you’re still not receiving the lead flow needed to grow your company to the next billion-dollar brand. Well, don’t worry because there are several ways to generate solid leads.
Twitter is an ideal tool for generating leads. You can use twitter to reach out to the influencers within your industry, and get in conversations with them. Their followers are possibly some of your prospective customers. They will see all your interactions and might follow you or even visit your website. Also, follow subjects that are trending and relate to your business. Interject your thoughts in the general discussions by using the hashtag (#) symbol. For example, if you’re in the mobile world, you might use #iPhone to get leads.
Do you have a newsletter? If not, then you are missing out on one of the simplest ways to network and generate leads. Make sure that you put a newsletter sign up in all possible places that make sense on your site. With these newsletters, not only will you have a captive audience but the email pathways will also serve as a great way to avoid getting lost in the Internet noise. Once more, don’t make it about you. Instead, you should share your insights, recent wins that you created for your customers and the industry news with your contacts.
Having a blog is among the best lead generating tools that you can use. A blog gives a person or (company) complete control of what’s said while still giving them an opportunity to have the complete attention of the reader. Ensure that your blog is well-optimized to generate more leads. This can be done by having a sign-up section for the newsletter and using the margins to promote your services and products. Do not make the blog all about yourself! Give real value to the visitors.
Ebooks usually work great for the B2B companies or businesses that work in a technical space. Ensure that you do not promote your products or services. People don’t want to buy your products, they want to be informed. As such, you should write from a neutral perspective and ensure that you give actionable insights. Share the eBooks socially and ask your network to share it on your behalf.
You’ll have to ensure that you have the landing page set up. That requires guests to input their email, phone number and name for a chance to download your eBook. Such pages can be built easily using tools like Unbounce.
While lots of action happens within the digital world, the real world is still providing a lot of advantages – especially for networking events. Today, events that do not directly relate to your business can provide you with some of the most valuable leads and contacts. You will meet more people, expand your network and also gain referrals. In addition, it is a great way to build your brand. Ensure that you bring business cards and do not be afraid to ask the people you meet for their patronage.
Don’t produce yet another terrible commercial and decide to post it on YouTube for people to watch. The world does not need more posts like that. What people want more is entertainment. As such, spend time developing ideas that promote your company, and engages your customers. Once you have uploaded the video on YouTube, try to make it go viral. Use services like StumbleUpon to drive more traffic to your video. Video sites such as YouTube allow you to directly put links into the video. You should use this opportunity to link back to the specific landing pages on your site.
Even though infographics may have been overused, people still read and share them. They are also quite cheap to produce. Just come up with an original idea and find a graphic designer. Share it on social media and with your network. You can also submit the infographics to publications that cover your industry.
Always ensure that you put your logo and the website URL at the bottom of these infographics. By doing so, you will enable readers to visit your site.
Webinars are an affordable way to get your message to several potential customers. There are several services that allow you to broadcast a webinar easily and quickly. Furthermore, making webinars will help grow your following. Come up with a good idea that will help your customers. Promote your webinar on social media, your newsletter, and through your network.
At the end of these webinars, feel free to ask attendees to download your eBook, sign up for a newsletter or even visit your site. This will eventually bring more leads in.
Do you know what journalists usually hate most? Being hit up by several PR agencies day after day. And, do you know what journalists hate a little less? Having the company owner reach out to them and tell their story in an authentic and real way. As a matter of fact, your chances of getting covered will go up significantly if you decide to reach out by yourself. Here are a few tips concerning reaching out to the journalists: Do not mass email them, don’t open with “to whom it might concern” and do not pester them (one follow up email is sufficient).
By getting your brand name out to the media, you will start to develop more followers, increase your brand and come off as a professional within your domain – all which can help you get more leads.
Customers usually love authentic businesses. They like it when a business has a strong, clear message and the message should be consistent across all their marketing platforms. As a result, do not try and be everything to all people. Customers want experts and the company that’s the best within their industry. You should focus on communicating this through your branding and the conversion rates will eventually go up, thus generating more leads.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of generating more leads, nothing can stop you from becoming a network marketing success.
The most frustrating thing about reading is forgetting something you’ve just read. Despite how much you enjoy reading something, if it’s forgotten the next minute it can disappointing. Reading and not retaining any information almost makes it pointless. When you read something to gain knowledge, it’s important to store the information.
To any reader, there are three memory components that are the most important. If you want to retain information after reading follow these suggestions. According to specialists, memories are built on repetition, association and Impression. These three components are responsible for memory retention. This is because they make it easier for people to memorize information. When used together, the three components give the reader an effective way to retain information after reading.
Impression. In life, impressions last longer than words. When reading, try and picture the information. Create an impression of what you’ve just learned. When you watch a movie, visual images are hard to forget. Most people remember movies scenes vividly. While it’s almost impossible to narrate a scene from a book. To create an impression while reading, create a mental impression for the material.
Repetition. The best way to remember things is repetition. Creating powerful images while reading, consistently, is an exercise worth doing. Go back and re-read important information, to insure it really sticks. When an exercise is repeated more often, it becomes second nature. Re-reading important sections makes it easier to retain less important sections too.
Association. Association is an easy way to retain information. When you come across a foreign concept, relate it to something you’re familiar with. This is a technique that makes it difficult to forget information.
There are some basic reading tips that we have all learned. One of those being, the importance of jotting down key points when reading. Taking notes will enhance memory retention, and make things easier to remember. You could also highlight bits of information you find useful.
Nothing helps create an experience when learning quite like sharing with others. Talking to people about a particular topic is an effective way of remembering information. In a conversation, one has the chance to address the topic with a level of enthusiasm that goes a long way in creating a lasting impression and creating memories. When we share with others, we explain the meaning of what we’ve learned. This will makes you understand exactly what you read and create longer lasting memories.
You cannot just pick up a book and get straight to reading. First, you will need to gather some background information on the topic. When you have a basic understanding of the topic, then it will be easier to understand the reading. Researching a topic first is an important tip to remembering information. Your level of education doesn’t matter, if you’ve never read about a topic before.
Before you start reading, it’s important to pass through it first. When skimming, you’ll get an idea of the topics and keywords. This will help you retain information while reading.
Try to focus on what you’re reading, and block out any interruptions. Read everything from beginning to end, and don’t skip anything.
The actions we do every day turn into habits that influence our lives. There are good habits and there are bad habits, as everyone knows. These habits form our lives and help us be successful. As entrepreneurs, there are habits you can form that will help you and your business succeed Here are 7 habits of entrepreneurs that prove to be highly effective.
There are some decisions that we make every day that can impact and benefit us. Then there are some that we do not need to even think about. Making decisions that have a low impact on our lives takes away time we could be using to do something beneficial. Influencers such as Steve Jobs practiced this method, later picked up by FaceBook creator Mark Zuckerberg. To minimize low impact decision making and make time for the more important task, Steve jobs opted for the same outfit every day, minimizing the time taken to choose clothes every day, and making more time to do things beneficial to his business.
As an entrepreneur and a business owner, the one word you will hear the most is No. While sometimes we want to throw in the towel when we hear that word, don’t. If you have a dream and a whole lot of determination, this word should not stop you from achieving it. It can be discouraging when it seems like no one believes in you. Big companies that around now don’t stop after hearing many No’s. They took those No’s, put in some hard work, and improved their business. They took the criticism and learned from it. They kept on trying and trying until they were where they wanted to be. It is said that 90% of startups fail, and without that hard work and determination, you don’t have a good chance of making it.
As an entrepreneur, you have to do things 100% more than anyone else in order to succeed. You really have to go above and beyond. You have to work harder than everyone else to make your dreams come true. Being an entrepreneur is not like any other job. No one pays you for what you do. No one has everything figured out for you.
Customers, like in any other business, make the business what it is. They take part in determining whether your business succeeds or not. They are important to businesses and entrepreneurs. You always have to put the customer first. Make sure their needs are always met and put first. Make your customers feel like they are part of the business.
As many of us know very well, things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes we have to change our plans and go a different route. This ties back in with being persistent. When, unfortunately, your company doesn’t do as well as you wanted or expected it to be, don’t be afraid to go a different direction and try something new. Change can be good and you might even find that you just needed to find a new and different way of doing things in order to succeed.
Being entrepreneur makes you different working class. You don’t have to work from 9 to 5. You can work anywhere you choose. The one thing that entrepreneurs and other businesses should have in common is customer relations. Make sure your customers know who you and your business are. Communication is an important aspect of business. You have to communicate with and get to know your customers. Put yourselves where they are. Reach out to them. Form relationships with them.
Your brand and business show who you are to people. You put your heart and personality into it. People can see you through your business. Know what you want your brand to be and stick to it. Stick with the culture that you have created. It’s easy to get steered off into a different direction and to lose sight of who you or your company are.
Being an entrepreneur makes you stand out from everyone. There are obstacles you constantly have to go through. Make sure that you are doing the right things. Form good habits and use some of these to help you in your business.
In this digital age, technology can be used for just about everything. One of those things is training your brain. Brain training is meant to boost mental muscle and improve memory and concentration, among other things. Brain training has risen in popularity, with some mixed results. While some people saw no improvements, others saw a significant change in cognition. A 2015 study of online brain training in people over the age of 50 saw a significant cognitive benefit. There may even be a benefit in video games. Playing any kind of video game has proven to have cognitive benefit.
The question is whether you should begin training your brain. There are many benefits of brain training. Even a placebo effect has shown positive results. People in a study who were told they were participating in a brain training study performed better on intelligence tests. Brain games have shown to help cognitive function in individuals with schizophrenia. There are really no downfalls of brain games. Either your brain gets a little exercise or you improve your memory and concentration. So really you have nothing to lose. Like regular exercise, brain training is something you have to stick to for results. Here are some apps great for brain training.
Elevate has become a popular brain training app. The app uses real-world tasks in their training. The app has 35, fun games that are meant to train your brain. Elevate is an app with a more practical approach. Their real world approach might have a better effect on the brain, as these are the tasks we perform daily.
Peter Zogas, the Director of Educational Content for Elevate states their games target specific problems that people may have. It focuses on problems such as calculating how much to leave for a tip or simply sending an important email. They lock in on one specific task, offering solutions and instructions on task performance improvement. The app focuses on subjects like reading, writing, and math. It also targets speaking and listening. You have the choice to personalize the app to the areas you find you need the most help in.
If you are more of a game person, Peak is a perfect app for you. With this app, you don’t feel like you’re training your brain. This app is geared more towards training memory, attention, problem solving, mental agility, language, coordination, creativity, and emotion control With Advanced Training Programs that focus on training specific skills. Peak develops games with Cambridge and Yale. It has 40 different games for you to play. A popular feature on Peak is the Coach feature. With this feature, you get personal coaching during your training. A coach helps you by giving you tips on improvement. It evaluates your progress and shows your ways to improve, or gives you games that fit in your time Schedule.
Lumosity is perhaps the most well-known brain training app. It is the oldest of these apps. Lumosity has over 50 games and has been around for about 9 years. They work with scientists from over 40 universities and has more than 50 in progress studies to further research the effects of brain training. Lumosity lets you play a couple of games a day and gives you a daily, weekly, and monthly performance report.
Lumosity focuses on speed, memory, attention, flexibility, and problem solving. It gives you an index score of your games and helps you improve your weak areas in each category. When you sign up for Lumosity, you are given a simple test to see where your cognitive need improvements. It then create a training schedule to help you with those improvements. Lumosity also lets you compare your cognitive results with other people in your age bracket.
Training your brain doesn’t have to include difficult tests, or impossible tasks. These simple and fun apps develop your brain while letting you also have fun. With the exception of Lumosity, which can be also found on the web, these apps are available in the Android Play Store and the Apple App Store. Happy training!
“Our attitude towards life determines life’s attitude towards us.” A quote from, John N. Mitchell who nailed it on the head. No one could be more accurate when discussing the power of our attitude, and it’s immense effect it has on our success in life.
Take notice to people who are happier and more successful then compare them to the people who walk around grumpy and pessimistic. They all have something in common, a positive attitude. On top of that, they generally enjoy life to a fuller extent. The driving force in our lives is our attitude— it will pull us to our demise or push us to greater heights.
Learning and tendencies just come naturally stemming from our birth, yet our attitudes and personalities are developed later on, in part through relationships and experiences. Attitudes are developed during childhood years and continue to take shape, constantly evolve, and change over the years. Affected by day-to-day interactions and experiences.
Delve a little deeper into the makeup of your attitude. Almost everything in your life has an influence on your current attitude. Everything you’ve battled through, the people you’ve met or interacted with have an opportunity to have an effect on your attitude; and again this is not including our leanings and tendencies. If you believe that you fall into the category of people who think, that all these factors have molded you into a person with a poor attitude towards life, there needs to be a change in your attitude! Opportunity for change is always there, you just make it happen. Here’s how to make that happen.
First, realize and understand fully what needs to be changed. Once you know what needs to be changed you must put in place precise goals ahead of you; for that is what will drive you through the process. Goals should be set with any endeavor if success is desired. Along with goals coincides your drive. What’s pushing you to get up in the morning? Why do you do what you do? If there is no answer to those questions there will be a constant crutch stopping you from arriving at success. Every person has a drive, it’s just a matter of finding it. Diving deep into yourself, self-evaluating, and above all else being honest with yourself. Set goals and find that drive!
Whatever it is… it can be achieved; be a little more optimistic, social or patient. Second, find someone who has achieved the attitude you desire most and take it all in. When you find that person who inspires you and encourages you, study them. Be careful to not embody them just let them be your guidance. Always be you and never try to be anyone else. Use this encouragement to move past your temporary failures and take steps towards being a better person.
To tackle obstacles on the road to self-betterment you need to uncover what this change will do to your life. This change can mean different things and may be applicable to many different areas of your life. Social life, career, perhaps business? Focus on the effects of this change and your chances of reaching your goal will be greater.
“Bad company corrupts good moral” is a guideline that must be put into place if you want this change to stay in effect. Surround yourself with the right people and the correct working environment. People who will continue what you started on this road to a better you. You cannot expect change if you put yourself in a crowd of people who won’t support you and pertain to detrimental traits. Maybe this means new friends. In short look for attitudes that love life.The stress of change will lift.
Sometimes the biggest roadblock is ourselves and the inability to trust our able-ness. If you don’t believe… it just won’t happen. You have three options: Either never start, give up quickly and completely skip the opportunity to succeed; or believe, never give up, fight every day, and…
It was once believed that our brain function peaked during early adulthood and then slowly declined, leading to lapses in memory and brain fog during our golden years. Now it’s said that our modern lifestyle plays a significant role in contributing to cognitive decline, which is why exposure to toxins, chemicals, poor diet, lack of sleep, stress, and much more can actually hinder the function of your brain. The flip side is also true in that a healthy lifestyle can support your brain health and even encourage your brain to grow new neurons, a process known as neurogenesis. Your brain’s hippocampus, i.e. the memory center, is especially able to grow new cells and it’s now known that your hippocampus regenerates throughout your entire lifetime (even into your 90s), provided you give it the tools to do so.
These “tools” are primarily lifestyle-based, which is wonderful news. You don’t need an expensive prescription medication or any medical procedure to boost your brain and your memory. Simply try out the following tricks to improve your memory.
The foods you eat – and don’t eat – play a crucial role in your memory. Fresh vegetables are essential, as are healthy fats and avoiding sugar and grain carbohydrates. You can find detailed information about nine foods for brain power here.
For instance, curry, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, and walnuts contain antioxidants and other compounds that protect your brain health and may even stimulate the production of new brain cells. Increasing your animal-based omega-3 fat intake and reducing consumption of damaged omega-6 fats (think processed vegetable oils) in order to balance your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, is also important. I prefer krill oil to fish oil, as krill oil also contains astaxanthin, which not only protects the omega-3 fats from oxidation but also appears to be particularly beneficial for brain health.
Another healthful fat for brain function is coconut oil. According to research by Dr. Mary Newport, just over two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 35 ml or 7 level teaspoons) would supply you with the equivalent of 20 grams of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which is indicated as either a preventative measure against degenerative neurological diseases, or as a treatment for an already established case.
Exercise encourages your brain to work at optimum capacity by stimulating nerve cells to multiply, strengthening their interconnections and protecting them from damage.
During exercise, nerve cells release proteins known as neurotrophic factors. One in particular, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health, and directly benefits cognitive functions, including learning.
A 2010 study on primates published in Neuroscience revealed that regular exercise not only improved blood flow to the brain but also helped the monkeys learn new tasks twice as quickly as non-exercising monkeys. This is a benefit researchers believe would hold true for people as well. In a separate one-year-long study, individuals who engaged in exercise were actually growing and expanding the brain’s memory center one to two percent per year, where typically that center would have continued to decline in size.
To get the most out of your workouts, I would recommend a comprehensive program that includes high-intensity interval exercise, strength training, stretching, and core work, along with regular intermittent movement.
Used for decades to describe the parallel processing abilities of computers, multitasking is now shorthand for the human attempt to simultaneously do as many things as possible, as quickly as possible. Ultimately, multitasking may actually slow you down and make you prone to errors as well as make you forgetful.
Research shows you need about eight seconds to commit a piece of information to your memory, so if you’re talking on your phone and carrying in groceries and decide to put down your car keys, you’re most likely to forget where you left them. The opposite of multitasking would be mindfulness, which helps you achieve undistracted focus. Students who took a mindfulness class improved reading comprehension test scores and working memory capacity, as well as experienced fewer distracting thoughts.
If you find yourself trying to complete five tasks at once, stop yourself and focus on just one task. If distracting thoughts enter your head, remind yourself that these are only “projections,” not reality, and allow them to pass by without stressing you out. You can then end your day with a 10- or 15-minute meditation session to help stop your mind from wandering and relax into a restful sleep
If you don’t sufficiently challenge your brain with new, surprising information, it eventually begins to deteriorate. What research into brain plasticity shows us, however, is that by providing your brain with appropriate stimulus, you can counteract this degeneration. One way to challenge your brain is via ‘brain games,’ which you can play online via Web sites like Lumosity.com. Dr. Michael Merzenich, professor emeritus at the University of California, who I interviewed two years ago, has pioneered research in brain plasticity (also called neuroplasticity) for more than 30 years. He has also developed a computer-based brain-training program that can help you sharpen a range of skills, from reading and comprehension to improved memorization and more.
The program is called Brain HQ and the website has many different exercises designed to improve brain function and it also allows you to track and monitor your progress over time. While there are many similar sites on the Web, Brain HQ is one of the oldest and most widely used.
If you decide to try brain games, ideally it would be wise to invest at least 20 minutes a day, but no more than five to seven minutes is to be spent on a specific task. When you spend longer amounts of time on a task, the benefits weaken. According to Dr. Merzenich, the primary benefits occur in the first five or six minutes of the task. The only downside to brain games is that they may become just another “task” you need to fit into an already busy day. However, if you don’t enjoy brain games, you can also try learning a new skill or hobby (see below).
Engaging in “purposeful and meaningful activities” stimulates your neurological system, counters the effects of stress-related diseases, reduces the risk of dementia and enhances health and well-being. A key factor necessary for improving your brain function or reversing functional decline is the seriousness of purpose with which you engage in a task. In other words, the task must be important to you, or somehow meaningful or interesting — it must hold your attention.
For instance, one study revealed that craft activities such as quilting and knitting were associated with decreased odds of having mild cognitive impairment. Another study, published earlier this year, found that taking part in “cognitively demanding” activities like learning to quilt or take digital photography enhanced memory function in older adults. The key is to find an activity that is mentally stimulating for you. Ideally this should be something that requires your undivided attention and gives you great satisfaction. It should be an activity that you look forward to doing, such as playing a musical instrument, gardening, building model ships, crafting or many others.
Mnemonic devices are memory tools to help you remember words, information or concepts. They help you to organize information into an easier-to-remember format. Try:
Research from Harvard indicates that people are 33 percent more likely to infer connections between distantly related ideas after sleeping, but few realize that their performance has actually improved. Sleep is also known to enhance your memory and help you “practice” and improve your performance of challenging skills. In fact, a single night of sleeping only four to six hours can impact your ability to think clearly the next day.
The process of brain growth, or neuroplasticity, is believed to underlie your brain’s capacity to control behavior, as well as learning and memory. Plasticity occurs when neurons are stimulated by events, or information, from the environment. However, sleep and sleep loss modify the expression of several genes and gene products that may be important for synaptic plasticity. Furthermore, certain forms of long-term potentiation, a neural process associated with the laying down of learning and memory, can be elicited in sleep, suggesting synaptic connections are strengthened while you slumber.
As you might suspect, this holds true for infants too, and research shows that naps can give a boost to a baby’s brainpower. Specifically, infants who slept in between learning and testing sessions had a better ability to recognize patterns in new information, which signals an important change in memory that plays an essential role in cognitive development. There’s reason to believe this holds true for adults, too, as even among adults, a mid-day nap was found to dramatically boost and restore brainpower. You can find 33 tips to help you get the shut-eye you need here.